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Duchess of Cornwall

File:Duchess of Cornwall in 2014.jpg
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, is legally entitled to the title "Princess of Wales", but chooses to use the title "Duchess of Cornwall", due to its strong association with her husband's first wife Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Duchess of Cornwall is the title held by the wife of the Duke of Cornwall. Duke of Cornwall is a non-hereditary peerage held by the British Sovereign's eldest son and heir.

The current Duchess of Cornwall is Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (the former Camilla Parker Bowles), since her 9 April 2005 marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales.

Prior to their marriage, the title was normally used only in Cornwall since customarily the Sovereign's eldest son and heir is created Prince of Wales and his wife is styled the Princess of Wales, and it is those names that are typically used to refer to them. In Scotland the couple use the title Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.

Since the title of Duke of Cornwall can only be held by an heir-apparent who is also the eldest son of the monarch, no woman can be Duchess of Cornwall in her own right. However, this may change now that proposals to change the rules of succession are completed.


The first Duchess of Cornwall was Joan "The Fair Maid of Kent", who, in October 1361, married Edward, the Black Prince.

Catherine of Aragon was also Duchess of Cornwall through her marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales, who was the Duke of Cornwall.

Before the present Duchess, the most recent Duchess of Cornwall was Diana, Princess of Wales. During this period, she was usually styled Princess of Wales, as have been most Duchesses of Cornwall.

Before Camilla the only Duchesses of Cornwall to be styled as such were Caroline, wife of the future King George II, who was styled “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge” from 1 August to 27 September 1714; and Mary, wife of the future King George V, who was styled “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and York” from 22 January to 9 November 1901. In both cases they were known by the title for only a few months between their respective fathers-in-law's accession to the throne and their husband's creation as Prince of Wales.

Style and title

Prior to the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles, it was stated that she would be styled Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall. She does not use the title Princess of Wales, because it is still popularly associated with the former wife of the Prince of Wales, Diana, Princess of Wales. It is intended that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will upon her husband's succession to the throne, become HRH The Princess Consort.

Literary references

  • Shakespeare's King Lear includes the character "Regan, Duchess of Cornwall", Lear's second daughter.

See also

External links